Exclusive Interview: Ingrid Oliver

July 12th, 2017
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
exclusive-interview-ingrid-oliver

WhovianNet recently caught up with Ingrid Oliver to chat about her upcoming one woman show, Speech!.

The actress will be riding solo at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month as she introduces audiences to her catalogue of politically-charged characters, including a drunk Washington staffer and a patriotic actress accepting her Oscar.

We chatted to Ingrid ahead of the production, as well as about her portrayal of fan favourite Osgood in Doctor Who, and her thoughts on a female Doctor…

Q. Hi, Ingrid! In a nutshell (and without giving too much away), what can you tell us about Speech!, and where did inspiration behind it come from?
A. Speech! is a series of characters that explore different sides of the political spectrum. Some characters are political with a big P and some with a small P so there’s something for everyone. I’m fascinated by the divisiveness of the current political climate and I’ve always been interested in exploring all sides of an argument, so that’s how the show came about. It allows me to say some quite outrageous things because I’m using a character’s voice to say them.

Q. Speaking of the current political climate, did you write it with a particular target audience in mind?
A. I haven’t written this show with an audience in mind. I’m just exploring the things that are interesting to me. Hopefully they will also be interesting to my audience. I think if anyone has been as fascinated by recent events as I have, they would be interested in some of the things I bring up in my show.

Q. What are the most exciting and/or scariest aspects of performing in a solo show, especially one that is made up of your own material?
A. What if I forget my lines? What if I get ill? What if they hate me and they’re stuck with me for an hour?! These are all the thoughts that have been running through my head for the last month. But similarly, if it goes well, I get all the glory. Me. It’s mine. All mine.

Q. When did you first realise that you had a knack for comedy?
A. It took a while. I went to school with a lot of funny girls. I was friends with Lorna Watson (my double act partner) and Katherine Parkinson who were both in my year, but I never felt as funny as them. When I left school, I realised that I had been the third funniest person in a group of girls who were disproportionately funny. Which is still quite funny. Actually, scrap that. Rebecca Currie was the funniest girl in our year and she didn’t even go into comedy, which is a travesty. So after her, I was the fourth funniest. And probably not even that, to be honest.

Q. Of all of the characters that feature in the show, do you have a favourite to play?
A. There’s a particularly hateful LBC Radio DJ that is a lot of fun to do because I get to say the most horrific things. It’s always fun playing a villain. Just ask Michelle Gomez.

Q. Speaking of strong female characters, Doctor Who fans will, of course, recognise you as Osgood. How did your role in the series come about?
A. I simply auditioned for it. I stole my boyfriend’s thick, black glasses for the casting because I felt that they were what Osgood would wear, pretending I needed them to read. When I got the phone call saying I’d got the part, they asked if I could bring the glasses. I’m still not sure to this day if it’s my acting that got the part, or my boyfriend’s Ray-Bans…

Q. What was it like to make your debut in such an iconic episode as the 50th anniversary special, and did you know that you’d be back?
A. The 50th anniversary was one of the most incredible things to be a part of. I have so many separate and distinct memories from it. Filming in Trafalgar Square, filming at the Tower of London, wearing the Tom Baker scarf, acting with Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt AT THE SAME TIME. One of my favourite off-set memories is sitting next to John Hurt at dinner and him berating me on my choice of wine. “Oh my dear, you must NEVER touch a Sauvignon. Ghastly stuff.” And no, I had no idea at the time I’d be back.

Q. Osgood has had some great comedy moments but have you enjoyed exploring other aspects of her character, especially in the Series 9 Zygon two-parter?
A. It was lovely to explore Osgood more fully in the Zygon Invasion/Inversion. I was so grateful to be brought back and be allowed to do that. Also, getting the chance to do one on one scenes with Peter was wonderful. He really makes you up your game because he’s just an incredible actor. I learnt a lot from him. It’s funny, because I know Peter Harness who wrote the episodes, and I joked with him about putting in a huge dramatic monologue for me as well as a make-over scene. He didn’t do either. Sadly.

Q. You’ve most recently reprised your role as Osgood for Big Finish audios, but would you like to return on screen?
A. Is the TARDIS bigger on the inside? Yes. Of course I would.

Q. Do you think it’s time for a female Doctor and if so, who would be your top pick?
A. I would love to see a female Doctor. I’d go for someone like Helena Bonham Carter or Tilda Swinton. Or Jennifer Saunders. I’d bloody love that. I think the world is ready.

Ingrid Oliver performs her one woman show, Speech! at Pleasance: That from 2nd-27th August at 4.30pm. For tickets call 0131 556 6550 or visit www.pleasance.co.uk.

1 comment on this article
  1. Burrunjor
    July 15th, 2017 at 9.13pm | #1

    Love this woman so much. Don’t agree with her about the female Doctor of course. IMO it should never be done its a terrible, jarring idea, but still she’s a brilliant actress, very versatile, very funny, great personality and stunningly gorgeous.

    Why wasn’t she back for series 10 again?

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